Micah 1:1-4:13 The Bible is clear about what causes war. James tells us that wars exist because of our own lusts. I am so thankful that no one in my immediate family ever had to fight in a war, because "war is hell." I heard the testimony of a Christian who was shot down in Vietnam and held prisoner for over a year. His testimony was inspiring, but just think of a day when there will be no more testimonies like his. One day there will be no more war. Micah looks forward to that day when he says, "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Mic. 4:1-3, KJV).
Page 7 of 19
Psalm 133:1-3 One of God's greatest desires is that we dwell together in unity. One of Satan's greatest desires is that we would be divided. God hates it when men come against each other with accusations and strife.
Proverbs 29:24-25 When I first married, I was so bound by the fear of what others thought of me. I wondered if my mother thought I was a good mother. Did my husband think I was a good wife? Did my neighbors think I was a good neighbor? I remember my next door neighbor coming to my home and telling me how she cleaned her oven and range every day. From that day forward I made sure my oven and range were spotless just in case "Mrs. Clean" dropped by uninvited. Before I was delivered from the fear of man, I never really listened to what people were saying. I was too busy thinking about what I would say to them when they finished talking.
Revelation 3:7-22 Jesus holds the keys of David that can open the doors that no man can shut, and He also can shut the doors that no man can open. Often I have prayed for Jesus to go ahead of me and open the doors no man can shut and to close the doors no man can open. Jesus holds the keys to our future, and we need to release our future to Him. I am praying for the employment of one of my friends now, and I am praying that Jesus will use these powerful keys to open or close doors for her future job.
Psalm 130:1-8 Where would we be if God marked our iniquities? We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. God's plan has always been to redeem us, not condemn us. Redemption is extended to us through Jesus, and the possibility of having our sins, transgressions and iniquities all forgiven is offered to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 29:19-20 I remember my mother's instructions, "Put your mind in gear before you start the motor of your mouth." I've tried to follow that advice all my life, but sometimes I forget. When I do, I usually find that what I say in haste hurts others. Someone told me to roll my tongue around in my mouth twenty times before I speak. That also is good advice.
Psalm 128:1-6 What a blessing it is to be grandparents. This psalm promises the children of Israel that they will see their children's children. "Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table" (v. 3, KJV). "Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel" (v. 6, KJV).
Psalm 127:1-5 The fruit of my forty-plus years of marriage has been three marvelous sons with their beautiful wives and children. God has promised us at least ten grandchildren before Jesus returns, and I kid people a lot by telling them, "Never mind all the signs of the times mentioned in the Bible that usher the return of our Lord. Just know that when the tenth grandchild is born, Jesus is on the way." God's heart is concerned with people, and He always rejoices when births occur (physical births of new babies and spiritual births of new babes in Christ). God loves to add to His family because He is a family God. This psalm speaks of children as the heritage of the Lord and the Lord's reward. Listen to these words: "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with their enemies in the gate" (vv. 3-5).
3 John 1:1-14 Not too long ago there was a lot of prosperity teaching. One of the examples given to try to prove God wanted to bless our giving was the promise of the hundredfold return for the gifts we give to God. Some of these evangelists preaching such a return on gifts were expecting the gifts of money to be given to them. They wanted the hundredfold return, and often were manipulating people by putting guilt trips on them to give monies to their ministry. These evangelists never told the whole truth about the hundredfold return. We are only promised the hundredfold return if we forsake certain things. Listen to what the Bible actually says about the hundredfold return. "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life" (Mark 10:29-30, KJV).
Psalm 125:1-5 We have led many tours to Israel, and sometimes people are hesitant to go because they are fearful of terrorists and possible war in Israel. When they express those fears, Tom and I always share that we feel safer walking the streets of Jerusalem than we do walking the streets of Atlanta. There is a sense of God's peace and presence in Israel that supersedes the threat of war and terrorism.
1 John 5:1-21 Few know the power God has given them through Jesus Christ to confess and remit the sins of others. This is the ministry of reconciliation. God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself. The possibility of the whole world being reconciled to God was extended on the cross when Jesus died not only for your sin, but also for the sins of the whole world. When Jesus said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," Jesus was entering into the ministry of reconciliation.
1 John 4:1-21 The whole counsel of God's Word exhorts us not to judge others. However, we can give the love test to others. The Bible says you shall know them by their fruits. The fruit of the Spirit is love. John talks about the love test. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us" (vv. 11-12).
1 John 3:7-24 During my lifetime, there was a movement that many coined as "name it and claim it." Many preachers and teachers were saying you could have anything you asked God for—all you had to do was believe and claim it by faith. It is true that even Jesus says whatever you pray about, believe that you have it and you will receive it. However, one must read this promise in context. Jesus also shares that for this to come to pass in our lives, we must fulfill a condition. That condition is to abide in Him and allow His love and Word to abide in us. Jesus tells us we must keep his commandments. He says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you-.-.-.- This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:7, 12-13, KJV).
1 John 2:18-3:6 When we went to India in 1980, I met a young man who I had a hard time loving. He was a manipulator, and I did not care for his mode of operation. During our visit to India I managed to be civil toward this young pastor, but it was not easy. Frankly on many occasions I wanted to tell him off, but the Holy Spirit helped me hold my tongue.
1 John 2:1-17 In these last days before the Lord returns, it seems the world is increasing in evil. The Bible tells us this will happen. Timothy tells us that in the last days seducing spirits will be everywhere. We have this hopeful word in God's Word that says where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. Sometimes my husband and I sit at our peaceful dinner table and remark to one another, "Things are really getting bad out there." One only has to watch the news to see the corruption in our world and the steady descent into more darkness. Sometimes after watching the news I want to say, "Stop the world! I want to get off!!" Today's reading gives us the reason the world is such a mess. We cannot blame it on God or even the devil. We only have to look at ourselves to find the answer to our predicament. Listen to what John says: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (vv. 15-17, KJV).
1 John 1:1-10 Fellowship is a Christian buzz word, but what does it mean? I heard one definition: "Fellowship is fellows in the same ship on the sea of life." This is not a bad definition, because we usually fellowship with people who are going on the same journey we are. There is nothing sweeter than Christian fellowship. If we miss fellowship with those in the body of Christ, we are risking falling away from the faith. As we learned in Hebrews, we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. So often when people leave a Christian fellowship or church, they do not attach themselves to another. When asked where they are going to church now, too often the response is, "I'm having church at home now." If we cut ourselves off from the body of Christ, our Lord soon has nothing to direct in our lives. Jesus is the head of the body and if we detach ourselves from the body, we will be cut off from the wisdom and the mind of Christ. We will not be able to see how the body can function together under the headship of Jesus.
Psalm 119:132-155 David says several times in this psalm that his hope is in God's Word. Faith is the evidence of things not seen, the substance of things hoped for as we learned earlier in our study of Hebrews. The substance that gives us hope is the Word of God.
Psalm 119:113-131 David in this psalm reveals the secret of getting through trying circumstances. He says, "You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word" (v. 114). Corrie ten Boom wrote the story of her experience in the concentration camps where she lost all of her family. She titled the book The Hiding Place. She was arrested for hiding Jewish people during the war, but she was able to get through those trying times because she hid herself in the Lord.
2 Peter 1:1-21 Often when our family is gathered at the dinner table, someone will say, "Things are really getting tough out there." The world is definitely waxing worse and worse, but the good news is those who walk uprightly will get better and better.
1 Peter 4:7-5:14 As Peter wrote this letter he had a sense of urgency. He felt the Lord's return was imminent, and he wanted his fellow believers to be ready for His return. He says, "But the end of all things is at hand: therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers" (1 Pet. 4:7). It is interesting that his End-Time exhortations were exactly what Jesus told us to do as the day of His return drew near. He told us to watch and pray. None of us know the exact time of the Lord's return, but we all need to be ready. Each of us will have our appointed day to die, and Peter's day came shortly after he wrote this letter. We should all, however, live every day of our lives as if it might be our last day on earth.